If you live in a cold, snowy climate, you will want to know about several key items to keep in your car during winter. I grew up in a very snowy and mountainous area, and we always had to be prepared for a storm and the possibility of getting stuck in the snow. No one wants to think about getting stuck; however, if it happens to you, you will be very glad that you decided to pay attention to these items to keep in your car during winter. I know there have been several occasions I was glad I had my homemade emergency snow kit in my car!
1. Bottled Water
When I was younger, I lived in Wyoming where it snowed literally anytime of the year. My dad taught me to always be prepared and carry water in my car. I have never actually had to use it for an emergency, but I have always felt like I am being responsible by carrying some water in the car. I highly recommend carrying a few extra bottles with you because if you happen to get stuck in the snow for several hours or longer you will need it. Thankfully, I have only needed my water bottles when I get thirsty running errands, but you never know, which is why water earned a top spot on my list of items to keep in your car during winter.
2. Nonperishable Food
It is always wise to keep a stash of nonperishable food in the car, especially during winter. Some of my favorites to put in the car include dried fruit, crackers, and nuts. You can keep whatever you want to, but be sure to make sure it’s fresh. I once realized I had a box of crackers that had been in my car for quite some time, and have since been very careful to replenish my stash of food. Like the water, I have never needed the food because I got stuck in the snow for a long period of time; however, knowing it’s there when I am on a snowy back road makes me feel much more comfortable.
3. Sleeping Bag and Warm Packs
If you live in a very snowy and extremely cold area, like northern Wyoming, you will definitely want to put a sleeping bag and some instant hand and foot warmers in your car when winter arrives. I used to always carry a blanket in the car, but I have switched to a sleeping bag because I realized if I needed it, a sleeping bag would be much better at keeping in the warmth. Instant warm packs are also great items to carry in your car during the winter. They don’t take up much room and if you are stuck you should not keep your car running for long periods of time, so these work great to keep you warm when it starts to get cold. I can tell you from having the experience of my car heater not work, that these little heat packs really can keep you warm!
4. Flares and Flashlights
Hopefully you will never need to use a flare; however, if you have trouble and are stuck or have had an accident flares can be a very important tool to have. They will draw attention to your car and let people know that you have an emergency. However, you should never use a flare as a source of light, which is why you should also carry a flashlight in your car. I have only ever used a flashlight in the car when I lost something under the seat. Yet, I am sure I would find a flashlight very useful if I had an emergency when it was dark outside.
5. Kitty Litter
Kitty litter is not the most glamorous item to be carrying around in your car, but it is handy. If you get stuck in the snow and your tires are spinning, putting kitty litter around and under your tires will give you traction to get your car moving. I have done this on more than one occasion, and it really works. I will grant you it makes the snow look dirty, and at first I felt silly putting kitty litter down. However, when the kitty litter got my car moving I did not care, and I always keep kitty litter in my car during the winter.
I am sure you think I am crazy to suggest carrying a shovel in your car, but I am not suggesting carrying a huge shovel. You can purchase collapsible or mini shovels at hardware stores that take up very little room. These little shovels can be quite helpful for digging your tires out of a snow pile. After hearing my friend tell me that she didn’t have a shovel and had to use an ice scrapper to dig her car out I starting putting a shovel in my car, and I have been very thankful for having it because I have had to use it several times.
7. Ice Scraper
One of the most basic items everyone should carry in their car is an ice scraper. Although they aren’t meant for digging your car out of snow they are handy when you have a layer of ice on your windshield. I have always used ice scrapers, but I never used mine quite so much as when I lived in Erie, Pennsylvania. The layer of ice would sometimes be an inch thick. I would work on the ice with my ice scraper while blasting the defroster in an effort to chip away at the ice. I hope you don’t have to use your scraper for inch thick ice or shoveling out your car, but, when you need it, it is really nice to have.
Winter weather can be quite treacherous and make anyone feel a little uneasy going out in the car. Carrying some winter specific items in your car can help you be prepared for a simple snowstorm or a more serious situation of being stuck or lost in the snow. Growing up in a cold, snowy area taught me to be equipped for all winter weather situations in the car, and when I am I tend not to worry going out in a snowstorm. If you live in a snowy place like I do, I highly suggest adding these items to your car during the winter season. What items do you carry in your car when it is cold and snowy outside?